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The River – Revelation 22:1-6

The Bible opens with man in the garden of Eden with God. There were four rivers in Eden mentioned in the book of the beginnings (Genesis 2:10-14). The Bible closes by telling the saved we will be with the Lord in a place of perfection and peace just like Eden before the fall of man. Again, we see that just like Eden there is a river that differs from the other four named in Genesis. This river is of water of life according to the text.

It is a paradise to say the least according to his description of it. Everything was made new. There was no more sea, no more tears, no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying and no more pain.

As we focus our study on this river, we know from Revelation chapter 21, John has already seen a new heaven, a new earth and a new Jerusalem. It is a paradise to say the least according to his description of it. Everything was made new. There was no more sea, no more tears, no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying and no more pain. The capital city, New Jerusalem, was foursquare like a cube that was 12,000 furlongs (Revelation 21:16). Think about a city 1,500 miles in length, height and depth. The walls were 144 cubits which is 216 feet high and made of jasper, and the city was pure gold (Revelation 21:17-18). The foundation was garnished with all manner of precious stones (Revelation 21:19-20). There were 12 gates made of 12 pearls with three on the east, three on the west, three on the north, and three on the south and they were never shut (Revelation 21:13;21; 25).

Many times, the question arises why were there 12 gates? Some would have you believe it is symbolic that there are different ways to enter Heaven, but they are wrong! There is only one way, and that is Jesus (John 14:6).

The trials of life do not save us, but many have sought Christ for salvation because the storm showed them they needed a Savior.

Through study, it is my feeling it represents two things. First, it is inclusive of our compass of the entire world, meaning people from all across the globe will come into Heaven. Jesus will save anyone from any place in the entire world. Salvation does not hinge on our location but on Jesus and His completed work.

Second, while there is only one way to Heaven, there are many things that lead us to a realization we need to be saved. Some will enter through the three east gates. The east is a picture or type of new beginnings. The sun rises in the east and brings in the dawning of a new day. It tells us many will be saved in their youth. The sun sets in the west.

Therefore, we know of those who were aged with years but still turned to Jesus for salvation. The north is from where some of the harshest storms come. The trials of life do not save us, but many have sought Christ for salvation because the storm showed them they needed a Savior. The south is a symbol of blessings. The warm breezes come from the south and bring blessings with it. The cold heart is melted by God through the blessings He sends us. Many a person has seen how good the Lord has been to them, and it made them see they needed to be saved.

In verse one he tells us about “The Beauty” of the river. It is beautiful because it is clean.

What a vision John sees in the 21st chapter of Revelation. Then we go to the 22nd chapter and see he is not finished with the description of this wonderful place he is seeing. It is almost like he saves the best for last. He starts to pen the words about “the river.” It is one of the last things John sees, and he gives us blessed details about it too.

In verse one he tells us about “The Beauty” of the river. It is beautiful because it is clean. In my travels, I have seen a lot of rivers and some are clean and others are not. Our ministry office is located a few blocks from the Ohio River. There are times it is so clean and beautiful. Then there are times it is so dirty and muddy. The river of water of life will never be unclean.

This river is beautiful because it contains the water of life. None of us have ever seen a river as beautiful as this river because we have not seen a river filled with water of life. Every river we have ever known contains life but also death. The fish live, but they also die in rivers here on this earth. Now we have a river to look at with only life. Nothing dies in this water. Only life proceeds from it.

She said, “There is a river flowing right up to where I am laying in this bed, and I can almost reach into it. It is the most beautiful river I have ever seen, and I have never been so excited in all my life to get into the water.”

Many years ago, it was my privilege to pastor a precious saint. As years robbed her of strength and vitality, the decision was made for her to move several hours away where she would be cared for by her family. Time continued to rob her of strength, health and even her vision.

I was in a service at a church within driving distance of where she lived. So, I made plans to leave early in hopes to see her one more time on this side of eternity. She was staying in a small mobile home. The family lovingly led me down the little narrow hallway into the bedroom where she was staying.

Every few minutes as we were talking, she would stop and point down the hallway and say, “Do you see that Preacher?” Finally, it got to the point I just had to try and find out what she was talking about.

She said, “There is a river flowing right up to where I am laying in this bed, and I can almost reach into it. It is the most beautiful river I have ever seen, and I have never been so excited in all my life to get into the water.”

Her family later told me that one of her final words was she was going to go into the river and how much peace she had. IT IS A BEAUTIFUL RIVER! It is also beautiful because it is clear. In fact, John says it is as clear as crystal.  John was really saying it is so transparent you can see everything in it. This means there are no mysteries when we get to this river. Every question we have ever had will be made known to us. When we reach this river, then faith becomes reality. No longer do we look through a glass dimly. We see clearly all things (I Corinthians 13:12).

It is a beautiful river because of where it comes from.

It is a beautiful river because of where it comes from. The fountainhead of this river is the very throne of God! The source of this water is from the throne but most important from the ONE who sits on the throne. Only the Lord could create a river like this. He is life, and the water coming from him is life (John 4:14).

John not only tells us the beauty of this river, but he also writes about “The Banks” of the river. In verse two he uses the phrase “on either side” to tell us a little about the banks of the river. The tree of life will bare 12 manner of fruit, and the leaves of this tree were for the healing of the nations. It only makes sense this is a “tree of life” because the source of refreshment comes to its roots from “the water of life” that is the river. The graphic on the front of this easily shows us how one tree can be on both sides of the river. There are giant redwood trees here in America large enough to have a road going through them. This tree of life is large enough to have a river of water of life passing through it. What a beautiful sight! It is no wonder John records this part of the vision for the last of his writing of the description of the holy city.

In the third verse of this chapter John tells us “The Blessing” from this river. He said there will be no more curse. This river flows from the throne of God, and His power prevails against the curse. You remember the curse came after Adam sinned in the garden. Now man is in the eternal garden, and the curse is run out instead of man. No more curse is a profound statement. To say there is no more curse means there is no more sin. No more sin means there is no more sickness. No more sickness means there is no more sorrow. No more sorrow means there is no more suffering. Everything the curse of sin brought to mankind will be removed.

There is another thing we need to mention about verse three. Not only does John tells us about no more curse, but he also tells us believers are there at the river. He says the “servants shall serve.” What will we do in Heaven? It is answered here. We will do there what we do here. We will serve. We serve by our worship and work. Neither worship or work saves us, but we find our greatest pleasure in serving the Lord as we worship and work once we are saved.

The Lord has shown us where all loved ones who are with Him will be. They will be by the river. So, let’s meet them by the river! Recently, my sister Patty Edwards went to be with the Lord. We know where she is at. She is with my parents and loved ones who have gone before. Now I know exactly where to go when I get to the city of God. I will go straight to the river because that is where the servants of God will be serving. If you don’t know Christ as your Savior, let me encourage you to meet me by the river.

Now this should be enough to make us shout, but John doesn’t stop there. He goes on to state “The Beloved” will be at the river. We will see His face! Read it closely in verse four. Finally, we will see HIM face to face. No longer will our eyes be shrouded with mysteries as to what He looks like. The veil is lifted, and we shall see His blessed face!

In conclusion, John ends by telling us about “The Brightness.” Can you imagine a place so bright there is no need for a candle or even the sun? The Lord gives light in the city. We already know what the river looks like because it is clear as crystal. You have probably seen jewelers display crystals by allowing light to shine and reflect on them. Can you imagine what it will look like when we see the light of His glory reflecting on the river? The songwriter put it best when penning the words:

Oh, I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace;
On the streets of glory let me lift my voice,
Cares all past, home at last, ever to rejoice.

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